Grocer wants takeover negotiations wrapped up before the end of the month

Delta Two, the Qatari-based investment fund that has made a£10.6 billion offer for Sainsbury's, has been given three weeks to bring negotiations to a conclusion.

According to reports, the grocer has not issued a deadline for a final offer, but is understood to have concerns about the effect the lengthy bid talks are having on the future of the group.

Talks have been ongoing since mid-July, when Delta Two, with property investor Paul Taylor at the helm, made its 600p-a-share offer for the grocer.

More meetings are expected this week and Delta Two is considering increasing the equity portion of its bid by£500 million. The level of debt in the structure of the offer has been seen as a stumbling block to the deal going through.

Delta Two wants to buy the grocer using£4.6 billion of equity and£6 billion of debt. The Sainsbury family, which owns 18 per cent of the retailer, has expressed concerns about the level of debt. Competition experts said burdening the retailer with too much debt could make it uncompetitive.

Delta Two hopes to carry out due diligence this week.

A source close to Sainsbury's suggested that the retailer wanted a conclusion to the situation before it issues a trading statement at the end of the month.